CHRISTMAS IN ISAIAH – 4
For Isaiah, Christmas – the birth of the Christ – is the birth of the King. Isaiah tells us:
The government is ‘on his shoulders’ and he ‘will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom ... from that time forth and forever’ [9:6,7].
He is a king in the line of David - ‘... a shoot’ coming ‘up from the stump of Jesse’ who reigns not only over the Jews but draws the nations to him [11:1,10; 42:6; 49:6].
He is the absolute sovereign from the house of Judah and the line of David: ‘what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open’ [22:21,22; Revelation 3:7]. He is the Lion of Judah, the one to whom this authority belongs, and has always belonged [Genesis 49:9,10; Revelation 5:5].
The characteristics of this King and his reign are wisdom, love, justice and righteousness [11:2; 16:5; 11:4]. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom [9:7] in which there is universal peace and perfect rest [11:6-10].
He is the King of glory, whose coming reveals the glory of the LORD [Isaiah 40:5; 60:1,19; Revelation 21:23].
But he is an unwanted King. Even before he was born Isaiah spoke of his rejection:
He would be despised, abhorred, rejected ...’ [49:7; 53:3].
He would suffer violent physical and verbal abuse [50:6; 52:14; 53:7].
And when Jesus, the King, was born this rejection began:
Herod planned to kill him [Matthew 2:12-18].
The world did not recognize him [John 1:10,11].
The Jews wanted to arrest him and stone him to death [John 5:16-18; 7:32; 8:22,59; 10:31].
Their leaders plotted his execution [John 11:47-53].
Pilate authorized his crucifixion [John 19:1-16].
Technically, it was the charge that he claimed to be ‘King of the Jews’ that sealed these execution orders. But at the base of the Jew’s rejection was Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. And here we come very close to real reason for the rejection of Christ the King. Here we approach the real reason not only why the Jews rejected Jesus, but also why the world continues to reject Jesus: he is rejected because he actually is God.
This is the same rejection of God that took place in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve discarded God’s word and God’s reign.
This is the same rejection of God that moved David to write that there are none to seek God, that all have turned away from God [Psalm 14 & 53].
This is the same rejection of God recorded in Isaiah [1:2-4] and Jeremiah [2:9-13,27].
This is the rejection of God that breaks God’s heart and broke the heart of Jesus the King [Jeremiah 3:19,20; Luke 13:34].
Christmas, the birth of the divine King, is thus the ultimate challenge: Will we have this Christ, this King, this God, to rule over us, or will we not?
Will we acknowledge that he is indeed the Lord? [Romans 10:9]
Will we believe in his name? [John 1:12; 3:17,18]
Will we believe that he is the One he claimed to be? [John 8:24]
Will we, like the wise men, bow down and worship him? [Matthew 2:11]
Our answer to these questions, our response to this King, this Christmas Child, is the one thing among all things that determines our eternal destiny.
© Rosemary Bardsley 2016